Monsieur Jacques d’Nalgar is a working curmudgeon with a cat-killing curiosity in politics, religion, history, and other manifestations of irrational human behavior. He resides in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a semi-autonomous region of the United States (a waning political experiment on the third planet of a minor solar system in a remote corner of the Milky Way galaxy), with his wife and other assorted wildlife. Jacques is a son and grandson of Baptist preachers, missionaries and educators. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon, where his father was a school headmaster for more than 30 years (and before that, a B-17 navigator in the last months of WW2). He grew up in the Middle East during the turbulent 50s, 60s, and 70s, but left just before Lebanon’s 15-year nightmare began in earnest. Most reputable historians do not associate the onset of that tragic conflict with his departure. He returned for a visit in 1978, three years into the civil war. His right eye still occasionally twitches as a result. After college in Oklahoma and working for a large oilfield servicing company now forever identified with the dark lord Dick Cheney, he moved his family to Hot Springs in 1994. Jacques spends most of his time reading, blogging under a barely-disguised snotty “Freedom Fries” pseudonym, and staring at the sun. He works tirelessly for the OAFS (Obsessive Alliteration-Fondness Syndrome) Foundation, as both its only benefactor and sole beneficiary. Jacques’ political pilgrimage has meandered across much of the left-right continuum. Once a staunch conservative (by all standard litmus tests), he found himself suddenly adrift when the rest of the country lurched hard-right after 9-11. He is a frequent critic of our national love affair with wars, rampant nationalism in general, and the resurgent, xenophobic frenzy that masquerades as patriotism. He once defined his religious confession as Zen Baptist, a burgeoning movement (of one) within the Southern Baptist Convention seeking to reclaim the mantle of Christian orthodoxy from fevered fundamentalists just itching for Armageddon. When evangelicals embraced the tangerine wankmaggot Trump and rejected Jesus, the futility of his quest was apparent. He abandoned the family faith and embraced Episcopalians' peculiar cocktail of ancient traditions and progressive inclusion. Monsieur d’Nalgar may be reached by sending him your questions telepathically, or by sending him money. He prefers the latter.
Jan 25 2019
Seems a mea culpa – Latin for “Oops!” – is in order. Who knew our prodigal practitioner could issue a challenge and then dictate rules of engagement for any who dared? My last ramble apparently strayed far afield from doctor’s orders.
Oops! #2 – my last letter left the impression that China’s “Great Wall” was something of a success. It was not. Like Sam Cooke’s song, don’t know much about history. Especially sixteenth century Ming Dynasty history. It is … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/01/25/what-we-should-be-talking-about/
Jan 21 2019
Time to Break the Silence on Palestine
By Michelle Alexander, Jan. 19, 2019
On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped up to the lectern at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. The United States had been in active combat in Vietnam for two years and tens of thousands of people had been killed, including some 10,000 American troops. The political establishment — from left to right — backed … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/01/21/my-conscience-leaves-me-no-other-choice/
Jan 16 2019
George Bernard Shaw is credited with this bit of wisdom: “If you want to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh or they’ll kill you.” John Naisbitt, American author and speaker, was perhaps following that sage advice when he wrote “leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it.”
If you’re looking for a parade to get out in front of, there’s a ridiculous one right under your noses. Day after day, and … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/01/16/everyone-loves-a-parade/
Jan 09 2019
A poem to progressives plotting mass exodus
By Lauren Zuniga, November 18, 2010
There is a sick pit in your stomach.
A plantation in your front yard.
The static flicker of black and white.
An absurd talking picture,
where sepia skin is now villain.
You are not sure who to trust anymore.
Everyone walks backward in your neighborhood.
You are surrounded by billboards with hate-sized font.
You are looking for a secret handshake.
A fish with feet drawn … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/01/09/oklahoma-is-worth-the-wait/
Dec 08 2018
By Michael David Lukas, Dec. 1, 2018
It’s the question that Jewish parents instinctively dread.
A few months ago, I was sitting on the couch with my 3-year-old daughter, watching YouTube videos about animals in space, when out of nowhere she looked up at me and asked:
“Dada, can we celebrate Christmas?”
“We don’t celebrate Christmas,” I told her, putting on my serious voice. “We celebrate Hanukkah.”
Like generations of Jewish parents before me, I … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2018/12/08/the-triumph-of-fundamentalism/
Dec 08 2018
By Chris Ladd, Mar 27, 2017, 09:16am
“White Democrats will desert their party in droves the minute it becomes a black party.”
Kevin Phillips, The Emerging Republican Majority, 1969
Thirty years ago, archconservative Rick Perry was a Democrat and liberal icon Elizabeth Warren was a Republican. Back then there were a few Republican Congressmen and Senators from Southern states, but state and local politics in the South was still dominated by … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2018/12/08/old-grievances/
Dec 02 2018
In U.S. Media, Israel Is Untouchable
By Gideon Levy, Dec 02, 2018 4:01 AM
Marc Lamont Hill is an American writer and lecturer in communications at Temple University in Philadelphia, and also an analyst with CNN. In a speech last week at a United Nations conference he called for “international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
In a matter of hours, the skies collapsed … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2018/12/02/well-orchestrated-hysteria/